Being a Customer Success Manager (CSM) can be an extremely rewarding career. A CSM works hand-in-hand with customers, guiding them through the customer journey and fostering a positive connection. They act as advocates for the business goals of customers and anticipate how to meet those goals and how they will change over time.
When hiring for a CSM, leaders look for candidates with a variety of skills, from relationship building and emotional intelligence to resourcefulness and technological ingenuity. While some of these skills are apparent upon first meeting a person, interviewers will typically structure their Customer Success Manager interview questions around determining whether or not a candidate has these skills innately and/or has the ability and drive to learn them.
At Totango, we’re always looking for great candidates to join our growing team, so we asked some of our leaders to share their top Customer Success Manager interview questions and their ideal answers. Check out their responses below!
5 Key Customer Success Manager Interview Questions
What is your “Why”?
The ideal response for this question would be for the candidate to share insights into who they are as a person, what drives their passion and what they value most. According to author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, a Why statement is “the compelling higher purpose that inspires us and acts as the source of all we do.” Since a Why statement is personal, there is no exact right or wrong answer, but it should be reflective of who the candidate truly is and what matters to them. If you don’t already know your Why, you can start to determine it by asking yourself questions like who or what is most important to you, what motivates you to be your best, or what are you most passionate about?
How do you navigate your customers’ product desires with the product team’s roadmap initiatives? How do you serve as an advocate while still managing expectations?
This question is an opportunity for the candidate to showcase their problem-solving skills. A good sample answer would be: “First and foremost, my goal would be to ensure that the customer felt like they were being heard and that their issues were being addressed. I would start out by walking through some plausible solutions to their issues and checking to make sure that the customer is using the tool as it is intended. Then, if I identified a gap or a need for a product improvement, I would make a solid case for the product team, including user stories, problem statements and any supporting materials needed. If appropriate, I would facilitate a meeting between the product team and the customer, allowing the customer to voice their concerns and giving the product team a chance to respond and provide their solution. From there, I would work as a liaison between the customer and the product team to manage my customer’s expectations of when and how the solution would be implemented.”
To be successful in a customer success role, one of the main things you can do is become a master at showing value in a way that relates to your customers’ different business demands. And one of the ways you become a master is by understanding the myriad of ways the solution you represent can deliver. So, tell me how you plan on becoming both an internal and external subject matter expert of our product and in our industry.
The ideal answer to this question would be one of self-guidance and ownership. This means, explaining to the interviewer that you are committed to your own success by taking the initiative to read books, sign up for webinars, source the organization’s own learning materials, and build meaningful internal and external relationships with those in the same industry, rather than just waiting around for the company to provide “training”. Being in customer success takes determination, grit, self-guidance and initiative. Showcasing that you can get from Point A to Point B on your own is critical to your future CS success.
Customer Success Managers are leaders. How do you like to lead?
This question helps the interviewer understand how the candidate processes and acts on influence. It’s an important question whether the role the candidate is applying for is a leadership position or not because all CSMs need to be leaders. They are customer leaders, internal leaders, and thought leaders. Answer this question by defining what leadership means to you, what qualities you think are most valuable for a leader to have, and providing examples of ways you have shown leadership in the past.
Tell me what energizes you and what drains you.
This is an interesting question because it gives the interviewer insight into how the candidate works best and what they value the most. For example, if a candidate said that they were drained by an unsupportive or uncollaborative environment, it would show that they value collaboration and teamwork. Or, if a candidate said they were energized by coming up with creative solutions or tackling a big project, it would show that they are a problem-solver and value ingenuity.
When it comes to answering Customer Success Manager interview questions, remember that, while you should provide thoughtful and insightful answers, you should also give honest answers to make sure you are the right fit for the company and the company is the right fit for you. If you’re interested in a career in customer success and want to join a team that is at the forefront of this growing industry, be sure to check out our job openings. Or, if you’re looking to scale your business without scaling your team right now, Totango can help with that too! Sign up for Totango for free today and see how quick and simple we make it for you to design, build, run, measure, and scale your customer journey!